September 20, 2008 The Last Laugh

As I held her hand between both of mine I stole a glace at the monitor. I had silenced the alarms at the start of the trip once we were certain we had all the documentation on hand. Sometime ago, this woman had chosen to sign a DNR knowing with the multitude of things going wrong in her body, an end was inevitable.

I looked back at her and despite what any machine would say I saw a calm and happy face awaiting my response. She wanted to know about a boy I took a trip down south with... a boy who could light up my face despite the gravity of her condition.

These woman's eyes were out of place, surrounded by all the signs of age and illness, but on their own they were as lively as a teenage girl awaiting the tale of her best friend's first kiss. Unbeknownst to her I wondered how it is possible for someone to appear so happy and peaceful when everything else is ready to leave these earthly boundaries.

As I told her about some of the comedic moments of our trip, she laughed so loud she even startled my otherwise somber partner. I could feel his eyes watching me in the rear view mirror. I didn't need to meet his gaze to know his thoughts but I looked up all the same.

It couldn't have been more then a moment before I felt a change in the weight of her hand in mine, as her arm fell limp and began to pull out from my grip. A unique coldness replacing the shared warmth. As I turned and bowed my head back to those childlike eyes, I stole another glance at the monitor only to see what I had already instantly sensed.

Returning to my patient's ever peaceful face, I could still see the glow of her laugh.


Misty Harris said...

Thanks for the beautiful post.

Mastabattas said...

Just one of those moments you cherish the honour of doing this job, and simultaneously wish you never left that job behind the desk.